Rainbow flag to be raised as part of hate crime awareness day

10 May 2018 15:00 PM

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A rainbow flag will be flown above Newcastle tomorrow in a symbolic gesture against discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people.

At midday on Friday people will gather outside Newcastle Civic Centre to mark IDAHOBIT - International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

The day is about raising awareness of the discrimination still faced by the LGBT community in the North East and throughout the world.

In the UK this continues despite legislation such as the introduction of same sex marriage with reports of hate crimes increasing by around 276 per cent in three years.

Superintendent Nicola Musgrove said: "We take hate crime extremely seriously and we want victims to know that they can report these incidents to police.

"All hate crimes have a devastating effect, because a person is being targeted just for being themselves. That is not something that is acceptable in our society.

“The reports of hate crimes have increased steadily since 2013 and that is a real positive for us as it shows victims have confidence to come forward and our officers are identifying when hate crimes are taking place.

“We really want anyone who is targeted in this way to come forward. If it has happened to you it could happen to someone else and we will take action.

“You don't need to speak directly to the police you can report to us online using our online 101 form, in confidence if you wish.

"Or tell someone you trust and ask them to report on your behalf. Anybody can report a hate crime, so if you've witnessed something we also urge you to contact us."

Cllr Joyce McCarty, Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council said, “IDAHOBIT is a very important day for us so we can stand together and raise awareness of the prejudice and discrimination LGBT people face not only in this country but around the world.

“Discrimination can result in violence, oppression and ultimately murder. As a council we are committed to tackling discrimination and promoting equality and diversity.

“We have a rich history of challenging discrimination and will not accept any form of hate in our great city.”

As well as raising the flag, speakers will talk about LGBT discrimination in other countries where freedom of expression of sexual orientation and gender identity have been publicly denied.

There will be one minute’s noise to protest against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

Anyone who feels they have been a victim of a hate crime is encouraged to contact police on 101 or online at